Many student-athletes seek to develop and improve upon their physical strengths, so the mental side of the sports is often not prioritized. As athletes encounter situations that test their mental strength, many often struggle to find ways to deal with the mental side of their sports. Pacific University offers resources for student-athletes who seek advice about aiding any struggles.
Pacific University’s Sport Psychology Consultant, Dr. Tamara Tasker, acknowledged what student-athletes endure daily. Tasker made it a point on how important mental health is.
“I think mental health is vitally important for college athletes,” Tasker said. “There’s a difference between student-athletes and those that don’t play a sport because it’s double the stress, double the responsibility, and it’s double the expectations. You have to be healthy to manage expectations of excellence.”
Tasker also explains how it’s not just student-athletes who she works with, but also the coaches themselves. Coaches often work first-hand with student-athletes. Emotional stress can come from the pressure of the coach. So, Tasker looks to help train coaches on self-awareness because what coaches say can take a toll on athletes more often than not.
“I do a lot of team consultations and workshops,” Tasker stated. “I have also done coach training with a few of my colleagues where we have gone into staff meetings and held training for coaches on mental health and emotional first aid.”
As the Sport Psychology Consultant, Tasker encourages any student-athlete who is going through any form of emotional distress to reach out and talk to someone, whether that be the sport psychology department or the counseling office.
“You do have resources. Not staying silent is really important. Somebody will be able to help somehow,” Tasker explained. “I encourage student-athletes to remember that they are human and with that comes all of the regular difficulties of being a human. And to know that there is a lot of help and a lot of resources available.”
As the school year progresses, Tasker and many other resources on campus will continue to leave their doors open for students. Whether a student-athlete is in season or not, resources to help with mental health are available all year long and offered to everyone. — Todd Takeuchi
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